Bringing to close an 18-year-long legal battle, Saturdays judgment may completely alter the political equations and decide the fate of AIADMK in the next assembly elections.
The case against Jayalalithaa, which was registered by the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption in 1997, alleges that she along with three associates former close friend V K Sasikala, Sasikalas nephew V N Sudhakaran and sister-in-law J Illavarasi acquired Rs 66.65 crore worth of assets by corrupt means between 1991-96 when Jayalalithaa was CM.
If convicted, Jayalalithaa will have to quit from the post of CM. She was faced with a similar situation in 2001, during her second tenure as CM, when the Supreme Court ordered that she could not hold the post as she was found guilty of some criminal offences including the TANSI case.
In fact, rumours say there is a possible list of candidates for the post of CM if the verdict goes against her. The person who tops the list is none other than O Paneerselvam, who had taken up post 13-years-ago when Jayalalithaa faced a similar crisis and was asked by the SC to resign. Meanwhile, some AIADMK leaders are countering this despite his seniority in the party. She will not take a risk by giving him a second chance. If it happens, it would be against the pattern of decisions taken by Amma in the past. We all hope that she would rather go for junior candidates like V Senthil Balaji, the present state transport minister, said a senior leader. Another name doing the rounds is of Sheela Balakrishnan, former TN chief secretary from Kerala, who is known for her close links with Jayalalithaa.
Hoping for a major setback to the ruling party, opposition parties including DMK, Vaikos MDMK and Ramadosss PMK have been changing their stand. After almost three years, Ramadoss met Karunanidhi at his residence Wednesday on the pretext of inviting him for a relatives wedding.
Meanwhile, social networking sites have been posting screen shots from DMK-run Kalaignar TV which started giving space to their political opponent Vaiko. Last week, Vaiko had praised Karunanidhi at a party function. Not to be outdone, DMDK leader Vijayakanth has come out with an appeal to all opposition parties to unite against AIADMK.
While the state is abuzz with predictions about the verdict, Jayalalithaas followers are not worried. Hundreds of AIADMK leaders are making a beeline to Bangalore. However, the police is making arrangements to stop them at the state border.
Jaya announces Amma Cements
A day before the final judgment in disproportionate assets case, Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa announced yet another Amma brand, Amma Cements, on Friday. A senior government official said the cement will be sold at Rs 190 per bag. Those constructing 100 sq ft houses can avail 50 bags and those with 1500 sq ft houses can avail 750 bags under this scheme. Those renovating or repairing a house can avail 10 to 100 bags of the subsidised cement. The government has come out with the subsidised cement scheme after the state witnessed a 25 per cent hike in prices two months ago. The state is expected to procure at least 2 lakh metric tonnes of cement per month for this scheme, mostly from the private sector. At present, popular private cement brands in the state are being sold at Rs 310-350 per bag. Cement procured under Amma Cement Scheme will be stored in godowns belonging to local bodies.